Chapter 1- It is Good to See
To say Vinay was happy would be an understatement. He was elated, exited, euphorous or better all the words put together. Why not? Vinay was going to see his cousins at last. Vinay had already visited them several times but this time was so special because he would see them. Vinay was a primary congenital glaucoma patient who had no vision since birth. But after his operation before four months he had been able to see. He was enjoying the power of light and the beauty of the world with his own eyes rather than from the words described by his parents or friends or cousins. Vinay had already seen all his friends, neighbors and relatives who lived nearby. But he had to wait for his vacation to meet his best friends cum cousins Rishab and Rahul.
“Vinay”, came the booming voice among the crowded railway station catching his attention. Even before Vinay turned he recognized Rahul’s voice and he half sprinted to his cousins who were coming running to him through the mass of people.
After squeezing the air out their lungs Vinay asked, “Why didn’t aunt and uncle come?”
Rishab smiled devilishly, “Guess what. Mom and Dad went to Pune for an urgent business meet”.
“Oh, I thought we could meet”, Vinay said disappointed.
His uncle and aunt were like his second parents. they had been there during his operation so he had seen them then but still wanted to spend time with them again.
“Hey! See the brighter side. We are under no supervision”, Rahul piped in and now Vinay understood why Rishab sounded so glad about his parents not being there. And the three brothers high-fived sinking into laughter.
“What about food?” Vinay asked after they reached home.
“Our maid cooks it in the morning and we warm it up at night daily”, Rahul said and threw an apple to him, “take it if you are hungry”.
Vinay took a bite and Rishab pat his shoulders, “So how does it feel after your operation?” Vinay smiled heartily and said, “It is good to SEE”, insisting on the word see and his cousins smiled seeing him happy.
Chapter 2 Ramesh Grandpa’s home
“So, what is going on?” Vinay asked once the boys settled for the night.
Rishab looked up from his story book and said bored, ” Nothing much. Ramesh grandpa lost his memory” and Rahul snickered at it.
Vinay looked confused. Ramesh grandpa was a lonely neighbor to Rishab and Rahul. He was an old man in his late 80s. It was a word around that Ramesh grandpa once belonged to a royal family. But he didn’t seem rich and his sons were working in some company in Bangalore. Ramesh grandpa used to forget a lot due to his age but Vinay was intrigued at why Rishab was saying so. Before Vinay could ask Rahul started to explain, “Vinay though we all know Ramesh grandpa’s memory is weak, he seems to understand it only before few days. During one night we all heard a wailing and we rushed to Ramesh grandpa’s home worried to see if he was alright. But the old man was suddenly crying out loud that he had lost his memory. So we all came back home seeing his stupidity”.
Vinay was confused, “But why would he say that? Ramesh grandpa knew he had weak memory”, he wondered,
Rishab said ,”Yeah. But I think he even forgot that and when he suddenly realized, he was upset.”
Vinay felt bad for the old man. He was always kind to Vinay knowing his defect. He decided to visit him in the morning and turned to say good night to his cousins and smiled hearing their light snores.
“Grandpa”, Vinay called out to Ramesh standing on his door steps with Rahul and Rishab.
“Who is that?” came a weak voice from the house and Vinay replied back,”It is Vinay. Rahul and Rishab’s cousin”, he added in case Ramesh had forgotten abiut him.
“Oh Vinay”, the old man’s wrinkled face broke into a grin seeing him, “how are you? Why don’t you boys come in?”, he invited them in.
Once they were seated Ramesh called out, “Kamala, we have visitors. Bring some snacks. How is your eyes now Vinay? your brothers were so happy about your successful operation”, he said smiling warmly at the boys.
Vinay smiled, ” I am fine grandpa. How are you?”
The smile vanished from Ramesh’s face. He sighed, “hmph. I am ok. You might have heard. I lost my memory”, he said sadly and Vinay really felt sorry for him, ” I am sorry”, he said.
“hmph”, Ramesh sighed again and called in “Kamala” he called again.
When Kamala came Vinay asked Rishab in whisper, “Isn’t she the same one who cooks in our home?”
Rishab nodded and Kamala placed the snacks, “oh you are the visitors?” she smiled and went back to work. After talking for sometime the boys left. while coming back Vinay said, “I wish I could help him”, earnestly.
Chapter 3 Suspicions
Rishab, Rahul and Vinay enjoyed the days going outing, shopping and watching movies. it was after three days after their visit to Ramesh grandpa’s home and they had gone out for a late night movie. while they were returning they heard loud voices coming from Ramesh grandpa’s home and the sneaked in to check for the source. They saw Akash, Ramesh granpa’s son arguing with him. “Are you for real? you lost memory?” he asked furiously and Ramesh grandpa cringed back, “I am sorry I didn’t know how, but…” “Don’t”, Akash interrupted. “It was the only worthy thing we had. A souvenir to remember we were of royal blood but you lost it?” he asked disappointed and walked in.
“What was that?” Rahul voiced out all their thoughts. “I couldn’t make a head or tail from it”, Rishab said and looked at Vinay. “I think we are missing something”, Vinay said thoughtfully and the three of them went to bed with many questions and doubts in mind.
Early in the morning Vinay’s sleeped was disturbed by hushed voices and he went quietly to investigate. But Rishab was already hiding and watching someone and when Vinay placed a hand on his shoulder he jumped lightly. Both the guys together saw Kamala angrily shooing someone, “I said go. Let us meet later.I don’t want anyone catching us together. Go”, she muttered furiously in an undertone. After the stranger went away she looked here and there to make sure if she was being watched but she missed the two boys behind the pillar and went in.
Rahul was still in a deep slumber when these two guys rushed in, “Wake up”, Rishab shook him vigorously while Vinay bolted the door. Rahul woke with a start, “What happedned?”, he panicked as he looked around searching for any danger. Butas the boys filled in with what they saw Rahul started to laugh boggling them out of their wits. “Oh it must be the night watchman”, he said lazily as he laid back on his bed lazily. When the two other chaps sat clueless he continued, ” I have seen them talking secretly now and then. I think they are lovers. It must have been him”. But Vinay asked, “Why are they meeting secretly?” Rahul shrugged, ” Who knows? Anyway let us not pry into their privacy”. But somehow Vinay remained suspicious.
In the afternoon when Kamal was leaving Vinay asked casually, “Where do you live sister?”
Kamala smiled and replied, “I live in the slum near the river side”.
“Oh how many are there in your family?”, he asked to retrieve information.
But Kamala unaware of his intentions continued, “Me, my husband and my son”.
Vinay smiled and she left and Vinay ran back to the brothers, “hey you doubted he might be her lover but she said she is married”.
Both Rahul and Rishab were baffled and Rishab declared, “I am sure there is something fishy going on”.
Now the three musketeers decided to look into the matter. Rahul said, “But how can we say this is related to something with Ramesh grandpa?”
Rishab said, “Don’t you think it is more than co incidence that Ramesh grandpa lost that memory a few days after Kamala sister started to work there?”
Vinay deduced, “What if Kamala sister and the night watchman together stole that memory? And I am sure that the memory is not Ramesh grandpa’s memory but something else”
Rahul said, ” For that we should first find out what that memory is”.
Chapter 4 The Memory
The three brothers decided to interrogate Ramesh grandpa and went to his home. Ramesh grandpa was surprised when they asked about the memory. he was hesitant but when the brothers said there were going to help him he said, “The memory is actually a tapestry passed on from generation to generation in our royal family. It was a gift from a neighboring kingdom. It was rumored to have a hidden treasure map but it was not true. It was just a token to significance their friendship. No one knew about it except our family. At times I used to see it reminiscing that at some time we were of royal blood but one such day when I was about to see it but I found it missing”, he finished sadly.
Rahul asked cautiously, “But grandpa you said that only your family knew about it then how come someone else knew about it?”
Ramesh grandpa replied, “That is what I wonder too”.
“Did you find any clue by the burglur?” Rishab asked and Ramesh grandpa said, “No. More than that even the lock of the cupboard was not broken to steal the tapestry”.
“One thing is sure. There is someone else apart from Ramesh grandpa’s family who knew about it”, Vinay said confidently once they stepped out of Ramesh grandpa’s home. And Rahul added, “And Kamala and the night watchman together must have helped him in stealing”. Rishab was frustrated, “But how are we going to prove all this and get the memory back?” vinay smiled crookedly and said, “I have the perfect solution for that” and the trio put their heads together planning to lay the trap.
The next day when Kamala came the three chaps were ready with their rehearsed plot. Rishab casually asked, “Rahul did you know that day Ramesh grandpa was not crying over the loss of his memory but it was actually a treasure map”.
Out of the corner of the eye The guys saw Kamala getting alert and winked. Rahul acted astonished, “What? Oh god. I bet that the theif is by now on the way to the treasures”.
Vinay said enthusiastically, “That is where you are mistaken. Grandpa said that the map is useless without the key. only with the help of the key we will be able to unlock the hidden map. And grandpa was clever enough to hide the key in the same cupboard inside another portrait”.
“Oh good. What a shame for the thief?” they laughed and walked out. Making sure that they were out of ear shot Kamala called the watchman, “Listen”, she whispered urgently. “Boss was unable to read the map because it needs a key. Don’t worry I found where the key is hidden. Tonight you come again. We shall take the key”, she said and cut the call.
As expected Kamala fell in the trap laid by the boys. The boys went to the local cops and explained what all happened. The police too decided to catch the culprits red handed and two constables were sent with the boys under cover to catch the thieves.
Chapter 5 Memory Retrieved
Vinay went to grandpa and explained what all happened and requested Ramesh grandpa to co operate so that the thieves were captured. Ramesh grandpa was so furious and he agreed at once. But the police as a pre caution told them not to discuss their plans with anyone else. So just the boys and Ramesh grandpa knew what was going to happen. That day Rishab noticed that Kamala subtly left the back door open when she left after work from Ramesh grandpa’s home.
At night they all waited patiently for the thieves to turn up. At half past midnight they heard murmuring voices and the cops and the boys got alert. They sat there hiding in the dark to seize the thieves. The voices grew louder as they neared and everyone realized that there were two men coming. Rishab raised his brows at the other two and Vinay mouthed boss doubting if the boss was coming along with the watchman today. So they waited for them to come.
They noticed two figures sneaking in and they had their face hooded. They walked in dark right through the cops and the boys without knowing that they were walking into a trap. Once they touched the cupboard to open the lights came on and the boys and the cops stood up.
“Freeze or we will shoot you”, ordered the inspector.
The thieves were terrified and the lunged to the door only for the boys to stand in their way. They knew they were out numbered and cornered and cursed understanding they were caught red handed. Ramesh grandpa also came and told the inspector to remove their hoods to see who had planned this robbery. But when the cops took off the hood everyone were shocked.
“Akash?”, Ramesh grandpa asked in disbelief and the three boys were too shocked to utter a word. “Why would you steal in your own home?” Ramesh grandpa asked as tears clouded his eyes. Akash was too ashamed and he hung his head down, ” I am sorry dad. I failed you. I was bankrupt in Bangalore and I had no other resource. When I suggested you about the treasure you just ignored and said that there was no treasure and it was rubbish to destroy a royal souvenir. So I had to rob it”.
And the inspector asked, “So you hired Kamala and the night watchman to rob the keys of the cupboard and work your plan?”
Akash nodded and begged, “Please forgive me”.
But Ramesh cried, “Shame on you. You have dishonored our royal family. The tapestry should have been in the museum considering the royal period. It is even my fault that I had it with me. I shall give it in the museum tomorrow. But now inspector please take him away and punish him”.
The cops took away Akash and congratulated the three guys for their help. The next day Rishab and Rahul’s parents Neeraj and Sheethal arrived. “What is this I hear? Did you guys catch a thief?” Sheethal asked surprised and the guys explainedall the happenings.
Neeraj said, “I am so proud of you my boys. Why don’t you three pursue a career in sleuthing?” he suggested and the three guys looked gleaming at the tempting idea.